In this all-encompassing work, one of the most famous science fiction as well as nonfiction writers of our time explores the subject of light and shows how it has shaped every aspect of our existence.
From the creation of life to the exploration of the heavens and the stars, from the origins of the earth to the possibility of life on distant planets, Ben Bova unveils the beauty and science behind the phenomenon of light. Dr. Bova masterfully explains how light affects us every day of our lives, from our religions to our sex drives, as well as how we use light in art, science, industry, entertainment, cosmetics, jewelry, and much more.
Why do people kiss with their eyes closed?
What exactly is quantum physics?
Why is it difficult to swat a mosquito?
How do lasers work?
What do we "see" when we dream?
Praise for The Story of Light:
"The enlightenment of discoveries and the brilliance of Ben Bova combine to enable our minds to glimpse the majesty of the infinite worlds of light in the universe."
"Superbly written — a banquet of topics served by a master literary chef!"
—Bill Pogue, astronaut
_"The Story of Light is a lighthearted, enlightened romp through many facets of human experience, reflected and refracted through Bova's bright, polychromatic mind."
—David Grinspoon, Principle Scientist, Southwest Research Institute and author of Venus Revealed
Prolific SF and nonfiction writer (Venus,etc.) and former editor of Omni and Analog, Bova once rhapsodized about The Beauty of Light(an ALA Best Science Book of 1988). He now offers this secondary source based introduction to light's influence on aspects of human experience, "from our religions to our sex drives." Those looking for inspired, penetrating insights will be disappointed: "Great artists, even those who came long before our modern understanding of human vision, used their own eyes and minds, their own observations of the world around them and of human behavior, to produce works of immortal beauty." The lack of illustrations is also a serious drawback. But with a 25,000-copy initial printing, an eight-city author tour and 1,500 galleys in circulation, this book should reach Bova's core SF fans, who may pick this one up for themselves or for their older children.Endogenous pacemakers (the light-sensitive "clock inside your brain"), the birth of the sun, lasers, astrology (it "was, is, and always will be entirely rubbish") and the camera obscura all make appearances, and Bova draws on examples from all corners, from medieval optics author Alhazen to Daguerre, James Clerk Maxwell and Einstein. While sheathed in filler, Bova's illustrative thought experiments hit the mark, and his breezy affability is evident throughout, making this a decent primer.